Xavier Musketeers Vs Minnesota Golden Gophers Preview

Shaun KriegerContributor IMarch 18, 2010

BOISE, ID - MARCH 22:  Forward James McLean #22 of the Xavier Musketeers dunks the ball against the Wisconsin Badgers during the second round of the NCAA Division I Men's Basketball Tournament at the Taco Bell Arena on March 22, 2009 in Boise, Idaho.  (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images

The Xavier Musketeers come into this game fired up, after losing an Atlantic Ten overtime battle with Richmond. They haven't lost back to back games all year and they don't plan to. Minnesota comes into the game after an embarrassing 29 point lost to Ohio State who just worked the Gophers over in the second half.

To say that these two teams have something to prove is an understatement. The Gophers got bounced in their first round game last year, which left a bitter taste in their mouth. They also have had to overcome the loss of Al Nolen at point guard. Since then they have gone 9-7 but they may have found their chemistry in the Big Ten Tourney. They defeated two highly ranked, yet depleted teams in Purdue and Michigan State.

Xavier came off a Sweet Sixteen season last year and heading into the off season it looked like Xavier would be a potential preseason top 15 team. But alas Sean Miller ruined Opening Day and decided to go the Arizona taking a couple prize recruits with him. To add to their disappointment they lost Derrick Brown to the NBA. If you add Browns numbers to Seniors CJ Anderson and BJ Raymond they lost over 3,000 points and were looking for leadership heading into the 2010 season.

Xavier found that leadership in senior Jason Love, new coach Chris Mack and redshirt sophomore Jordan Crawford (yes he dunked on Lebron James). This teams identity has evolved throughout the year and finally heading into A10 play they found themselves a good one. Jamel Mcclean has become a powerful force on the boards with his recent double digit rebounds and two hand slams. Any Mac Willaims writes Few teams have two lead guards as quick and as effective as Terrell Holloway and Mark Lyons." 7 foot sophomore Kenny Frease has come off the bench and been very serviceable on the low block. The X factor in the NCAA tourney is Dante Jackson. He always seems to step up in big games so we'll see if he's the next BJ Raymond for XAVIER.